Makeovers Mart

Managing Your Image in the First Term at College

It’s your first time in college. It’s a strange world and a time of great expectations.

You are stepping out of your protected environment and into a fairly independent life. You would love to experiment with the sudden freedom but start with small measures. College is also a time of great responsibility.

You are there to pave the path for your future success. You are expected to read aplenty, internalize, analyze and present well-researched write-ups, assignments and presentations.

It is very important to create great first impressions by projecting a positive image. There are many people to impress, students, hostel wardens, professors, heads of departments and administrative staff.

You may consider it the in-thing to have a ring through the eyebrow, tongue or through the lip. Or to wear torn jeans.

Think twice. If you want people to look up to you with respect and reach out to you to form friendships, make yourself approachable through your clothing, your grooming, your body language and of course how you communicate.

Clothes you Wear

If your college has a dress code as some do, follow the dress code. The college may not watch you with a magnifying glass, but when you don’t follow the code, you make yourself easy to spot and be pulled up for it. Most of these dress codes offer some leeway. One college has a dress code where the girls are supposed to wear salwar kurta with not a hint of western clothing. But hostel mates found that they could shirts and jeans on non-working days. Talking to seniors helps you know these differences.

If you are free to wear what you like, stick to what is current in clothing. Don’t stay at the ultra-edge. It is possible for you to wear your own style without sticking out. Since most students are in jeans and T-shirts, you can stick to these items.

A good starting point is to pick the basic item like a T-shirt and bring your style to the item. When you want to get funky or wear something different, do it one piece at a time. You could make your T-shirt funky with great slogans or a different styling. The alternative is to stick to a regular T-shirt while making your jeans different with light silver embroidery, doodles or more. While we are on the topic of jeans, avoid the torn ones. Avoid super tight clothing. It is distracting for others and yourself. It may be ok for a day out, but not for a day in class.

If you are in the hostel, use the laundry service if you can. It makes sure that you wear washed and ironed clothes. They are still very necessary.

You are likely to have to walk quite a bit in colleges, from class to class, or hostel to class, or hostel to the mess and so on. Flat footwear in the form of sandals, flip-flops, shoes or floaters make it easy for your heels and ankles on the hard tar, cemented, tiled grounds that you walk on. You will be less tired at the end of the day.


You may be tempted to go a day or two without a bath. Remember, allergies can erupt and your friends might keep their distance from you.

Have a daily shower, wear clean, pressed clothes, use a deodorant and you are set to go. Don’t forget to comb your hair. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes each day. To save time, work your schedule around the busiest times in the showers and in the mess.

As for make-up, a lip gloss is all you need for daily wear. For a freshers party or an evening out, you can take out your eye liner, a light shade of lipstick, light foundation and mascara too.

Body Language

Reach out with a smile. It doesn’t matter whether you know the person or not. A smile works wonders, making people respond to you with warmth.

Be Active

Keep yourself healthy. Take a daily walk or jog. If there are games, take part in them. If the college has a gym it’s a good idea to use it. Even a half hour a day will keep you fit and healthy. Don’t miss your meals, particularly breakfast.

Take part in other activities, the film club, the music club, theatre club, games or the great number of activities that college gives you opportunities to take part in. This will help you discover yourself and build self-confidence.

Help out your friends when they are sick or in trouble. But inform the hostel warden or the college authorities when help is needed. You cannot be party to something that can hurt a classmate.

Make Good Friends

Make good friends, friends who can last you a lifetime and who would be there for you when you need help. Don’t get carried away with those who are out to have fun at the expense of academics.

Your classmates and friends appreciate those who achieve things in one area or another. Put in the hard work, do well at your academics, do well at some of the extra-curricular activities, get to know people and have a great time.

It is possible to enjoy college time with great responsibility. When you do that, you will have no regrets, now or later.

Scroll to Top